Noble Protector will head to Sydney for the 2015 Queen Of The Turf Stakes after she recorded her second straight win this preparation in the Group 2 Sunline Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley overnight.
Noble Protector started her 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign with a dominant four and a half lengths victory in the Group 3 Schweppervescence Trophy (1600m) at Flemington on March 14 and she was extremely well-backed in the lead-up to the Sunline Stakes.
Jockey Craig Williams elected to take Noble Protector straight to the front in the early stages of the Sunline Stakes to avoid being bundled up on the fence and it proved to be a winning move, with the Haafhd mare never troubled by any of her rivals in the Group 2 event.
Trainer Robert Smerdon told the media after the race that he was concerned about where Noble Protector would end up after jumping from the inside gate and he was thrilled that Williams took her to the front in the early stages of the race.
“It was a genuine concern her sticky barrier meant she was going to have to use plenty of energy to get to the front, but that was better than having to contend with lots of traffic,” Smerdon said.
“It never seemed to phase her and In fact, she showed that she was more than capable of doing it at both ends of the race.”
Noble Protector was not originally included in the first acceptances for the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) that will be held at Royal Randwick on April 11, but Smerdon confirmed after her Sunline Stakes victory that he was happy to pay the late entry fee to get the mare into the race and he is confident that she is capable of scoring a maiden win at the highest level of racing.
“She’s in good shape,” Smerdon said.
“We’ve just got to keep her together and get her there (Sydney) as well as she was tonight and I’m sure she’ll be very competitive.”
Nobel Protector will be sent to the spelling paddock following the Queen Of The Turf Stakes and she will likely be set for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
Noble Protector is currently available at 2015 Queen Of The Turf Stakes odds of $4.80 with Ladbrokes and is on the second line of betting from First Seal.